The Indiana Pacers survived what figures to be the toughest test of their trip out west.
They next hope to avoid a letdown on Friday night and push their record to .500 as they visit the Sacramento Kings.
Indiana began a four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, where it battled the Lakers. Despite holding L.A. to a season-low 31.6 shooting percentage from the field, the Pacers would find themselves in a tie game after an ill Kobe Bryant hit a three-point shot with 24.5 seconds to play.
Following a timeout, George Hill took the clock down to four seconds before making his move toward the basket. The guard took a high-arching underhanded scoop shot over the shot-blocking Dwight Howard for the winning score with one-tenth of a second left as the Pacers inched out a 79-77 win.
"I worked on that shot so much and it paid off today," said Hill, who tallied 19 points in the game. "I wanted to catch them off guard. I wanted to put it high enough so they couldn't touch it. It's something you dream about to win a basketball game."
David West nearly had a triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Pacers, who have won three of four and are allowing just an average of 91.2 points per game, third-best in the NBA. They are 7-8 on the season.
Indiana wraps the West Coast part of its trip on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors before closing out the four-game swing in Chicago on Dec. 4.
First, the Pacers look to get past a Kings club that has split four contests since a five-game slide and is coming off a 97-89 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Sacramento, which is 4-5 at home this season and 0-5 on the road, got to within two points with 1:20 to play, but failed to hit a shot the rest of the way.
"Too many mental miscues down the stretch," Kings head coach Keith Smart said.
DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans scored 20 points each and Evans is averaging 21.0 points per game over his last five. Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas both had 12 points off the bench, with Thornton having scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games.
Thornton was nearly the hero when the Kings and Pacers met on Nov. 3 in Indiana in the first of two scheduled contests this season. Thornton, who led all scorers that day with 26 points, hit a game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime, then extended the game to another extra quarter with an equalizing shot from behind the arc.
However, the Pacers outscored the Kings 10-2 in the second overtime in a 106-98 win that featured 18 points from both Hill and West.
Sacramento won the lone encounter between the clubs last season 92-88 at home.